rambler roadster

this started out life as an ordinary 1961 Rambler American 330; two doors, bench seat, heater, radio-delete, the optional overhead valve six and Flash-O-Matic (Borg Warner M35) transmission, all the modern amenties of a car from the late 1940's. (Nash was a bit behind the times). like most inexpensive cars of it's type and era, it was driven long and hard and into the ground. when i got it it needed a new everything.

it sat in my yard for five years before i decided i needed a roadster. at the time i was driving a 1963 American hardtop, the same OHV engine but the "sporty" (sic) three-speed overdrive transmission, optional axle, "Twin Stick" floor shifter, and bucket seats. the obvious and sensible thing to do was to smoosh both of them into a rambler roadster.

i found a way to restyle the sedan into a roadster and maintain the Nash styling and proportions based upon my "discovery" of the Golden Rule. with that i proceeded to go with two overriding rules: add lightness, and brutal simplicity: if it did not have an immediate defineable function directly supporting driving safely at speed, it was deleted. much lightness was added, at last count 850 pounds of it (on the local truck scale it was 2250 lbs with me in it and half a tank of gas).

In the mean time...

2022, still at it. It gets driven harder and harder, and things break now. I fix them, make it better, then drive it faster. This will certainly lead to more broken things. But I've learned a hell of a lot about the limitations of this old hardware and it's been pretty good.

There's a pattern here but I'm not looking at it.


There were a lot of side projects and mods along the way. A lot of effort has gone into carburetor selection for this unpopular engine, and generally just a lot of engine work. The cooling system is unique, all electronic, no thermostat, driven by two small pumps, holds to one degree under all circumstances and consumes no more than 10 amps. No car on road or track has a better system. Prove me wrong. Far more software than seems reasonable operates this car which includes high volume data logging. The steering wheel disintegrated and needed new integration. About the time I put the T5 in it this car became my sports car. After many iterations of front suspension and rear suspension designs it's about as sticky and flat as many 1960's sports cars. At least, it doesn't get laughed at any more.